About

Violence against women and girls takes many different forms in the Pacific and includes physical and/or sexual violence, sexual exploitation and trafficking, and harmful practices such as sorcery accusation-related violence. Combatting violence against women has been a regional priority for a number of years, with leaders expressing their commitment to eradicate sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in 2009 and reaffirming commitment to gender equality with the Invalid download ID. in 2012.

A number of initiatives to combat SGBV are being progressed by regional and international organisations across the Pacific in partnership with PILON countries. Pacific leaders recognise the need for continued work in this space, with human security, including gender equality, forming a key plank of the Boe Declaration on Regional Security. The Boe Declaration Action Plan reaffirms commitment in the region to eradicate gender based violence and continue to progress the Pacific Roadmap for Sustainable Development, including Sustainable Development Goal 5 of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – combatting violence against women.

PILON has retained a strategic focus on SGBV since 2013 and continues to partner with others in the region, including the Pacific Community’s Regional Rights Resource Team, to eliminate violence against women. PILON’s current focus is on improving justice system responses to SGBV and ensuring access to justice for women and girls, by ensuring that vulnerable witnesses have appropriate support when giving evidence in Court.

Chair

  • Su’a Hellene Wallwork  ( Attorney General, Samoa)

Members

  • American Samoa
  • Australia
  • Cook Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Niue
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

Upcoming activities

Completed activities

2023

The SGBV Working Group has developed the Regional Guidelines for Prosecutors and Witness Support Officers to support Vulnerable Witnesses through the Prosecution of Sexual and Gender Based Violence Offences. The Regional Guidelines are an accessible best practice guide designed to provide direction on how to approach, understand and take measures to reduce trauma to vulnerable witnesses through the prosecution process and ensure the court hears the best evidence. This includes prioritising such cases and providing a uniform standard of support to vulnerable witnesses. The Regional Guidelines also include a number of attachments designed to be tailored to each Pacific jurisdiction and used throughout the prosecution of SGBV offences.

Please click on Link to view

2023

The Reviewing Implementation of Special Measures for Vulnerable Witnesses report builds on the Model Provisions and Explanatory Text: Supporting vulnerable witnesses in cases involving sexual and gender based violence. The report examines successful approaches to implementing special measures and outlines the important steps being taken to ensure justice is being served in prosecutions for SGBV offences across the Pacific.

Please click to the Link to view

2023

March 2023

 

PILON acknowledges the ongoing work of the Advisory Panel (convened by the SGBV Working Group) who recently met in Samoa.

This panel of senior prosecutors and witness support officers includes representatives from the Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI), Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The Advisory Panel continues to work towards drafting guidelines which provide best practice procedures for supporting vulnerable witnesses throughout the prosecution of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) offences. They aim to reduce re-traumatisation and delays, ensure the court hears the best evidence and to improve public confidence in reporting.

2022

November 2022

 

 

Day Two of the 2023 PILON Cybercrime Workshop focused on the gendered aspects of cybercrime in the Pacific.

 

  1. The first session explored technology-facilitated abuse facilitated by social media, and the broader cultural and social considerations in a Pacific context
  2. The second session of Day Two then turned to recent legal developments or law and justice initiatives concerning cybercrime and its impact on women and girls. This session was focussed on hearing stories from Pacific jurisdictions on recent legal developments or law and justice initiatives concerning cybercrime and its impact on women and girls.
  3. In the final session of Day Two, participants navigated an interactive exercise focused on building a holistic understanding of victim pathways through the legal framework regulating cyberbullying and image-based abuse.

Many thanks for the experts who contributed to this important day.

2022
Webinar 4: Panel Finale

2 September 2022

 

Dear PILON members and friends,

After hearing from Fijian and Samoan prosecutors, prosecutors from the Republic of Marshall Islands and the Cook Islands, and members of the Tuvaluan and Samoan judiciary, the SGBV Working Group concluded its four-part webinar series with a panel discussion. The panel focused on the valuable role that witness support officers play in supporting vulnerable witnesses to give their full evidence in court.

 

Su’a Hellene Wallwork, Attorney General, Samoa, chaired the webinar.

 

Our panellists were

 

  • Hellen Bennett, Witness Support Officer at the Solomon Islands Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Margaret Suifa’asia, Chief Legal Officer at the Solomon Islands Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Bola Masauvakalo, Victims Support Officer at the Vanuatu Office of the Public Prosecutor
  • Leonie Miroi, Victim Liaison Officer at the Papua New Guinea Office of the Public Prosecutor
  • Delwyn Dau, In-house Lawyer at NGO Femili PNG.

 

To view the recording of this webinar please click here

 

To download the live scribe by graphic artist, Ms Jessamy Gee: click here.

 

We thank all our panellists and participants for their engagement during the webinar.

 

 

 

 

2022
Webinar 3: Perspectives from the Bench

Dear PILON members and friends,

In our previous webinars we heard from senior prosecutors from Fiji and Samoa, and more recently Republic of Marshall Islands and the Cook Islands. For this webinar we were honoured to host members of the judiciary from Tuvalu and Samoa, who shared practical advice on how special measures, such as those contained in the Model Provisions and Explanatory Text (Supporting Vulnerable Witnesses in cases involving sexual and gender based violence) can be effectively used in practice.

Su’a Hellene Wallwork, Attorney General, Samoa, chaired the webinar.

 

Panellists for the webinar included:

 

Corinna Ituaso Laafai was appointed Senior Magistrate for Tuvalu in September 2020, having previously worked as a Crown Counsel within the Office of the Attorney-General of Tuvalu. Her time as Senior Magistrate has coincided with major judicial reform within Tuvalu and she presently hears cases within the Senior Magistrates Court and the High Court (until a registrar is appointed). Senior Magistrate Corinna brings a wealth of experience working with vulnerable witnesses and unique insights into the use of special measures from the perspective of both the prosecution and judiciary

 

Leilani Tuala-Warren is a Supreme Court Justice in Samoa. Having first worked in Samoa as a State Solicitor and later in private law, she brings immense prosecutorial experience. This experience expanded to law reform after her 2008 appointment as the first Executive Director of the Samoa Law Reform Commission. Just five years later, she was appointed a judge of the District Court (the second woman in Samoa to do so), and was asked to establish the pioneering Family Court and the Family Violence Court.  In 2016, she left the Family Violence Court to become a Supreme Court Justice where she deals with serious offences and constitutional cases.

 

To view the recording of this webinar please click here.

 

To download the live scribe by graphic artist, Ms Jessamy Gee: click here.

 

We thank our speakers and participants for their engagement during the webinar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2022
Webinar 2: Practical Realities

Dear PILON members and friends,

Our first webinar featured two senior prosecutors from Fiji and Samoa. In this webinar we heard experiences from smaller jurisdictions, to better understand the broader Pacific story.

 

Su’a Hellene Wallwork, Attorney General, Samoa, chaired the webinar.

 

Panellists for the webinar included:

 

Cutty Wase is currently the Chief Prosecutor of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. His career has spanned drafting and prosecuting in both the private and public sectors. Beginning as an Assistant Legislative Counsel he became RMI’s Assistant Attorney General, later taking on a Staff Attorney Position through the Micronesian Legal Services Corporation. Chief Prosecutor Wase will share the Marshallese experience of using special measures.

 

Annabel Maxwell-Scott is currently the Deputy Solicitor-General of the Cook Islands.  She oversees all criminal prosecution work ranging from serious sexual violence to drug and fraud prosecutions and advisory work.  Annabel was trained in the UK and admitted to the Bar there in 1996.  She moved to NZ in 2009 and worked with the Public Defence Service before moving into independent practice in 2013 where she predominantly defended serious crime.

 

To view the recording of this webinar please click here.

To download the live scribe by graphic artist, Ms Jessamy Gee: click here.

We thank our speakers and participants for their engagement during the webinar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2022
The Special Measures Series, Webinar 1: Lessons Learned

22 April 2022

This webinar recording is brought to you by the Pacific Islands Law Officers’ Network (PILON) Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Working Group.

This first webinar in a multi-part series showcased the work of two senior prosecutors, who each shared the lessons they have learned in using special measures.

 

Su’a Hellene Wallwork,  Attorney General, Samoa, chaired the webinar.

 

Panelists for the webinar included:

 

Ms Juleen J. M Fatiaki,

Principal State Prosecutor is the Manager of the Sexual Crimes Division within the Fijian ODPP. In almost 10 years as a prosecutor Ms Fatiaki has gained extensive experience in the use of special measures in court. Ms Fatiaki has been leading the Sexual Crimes Division for almost 2 years and was previously the Principal Legal Officer of the General Crimes Division.

 

Ms Iliganoa Atoa

Acting Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Prosecution Supreme Court, District Court and Specialized Courts in Samoa. Ms Atoa has been using special measures to support victims since she became a prosecutor in 2014. In her current role as Associate Public Prosecutor Ms Atoa manages and oversees all criminal prosecutions for all offences including sexual violation, family violence, murder, fraud, drugs, and youth court cases.

To view recording of this webinar please click here.

 

To view presentation poster

We thank our speakers and participants for their engagement during the webinar.

 

2021
Model Provisions and Explanatory Text

In August 2021, the SGBV Working Group published the Model Provisions and Explanatory Text: Supporting vulnerable witnesses in cases involving sexual and gender based violence.  Building on the 2019 draft Model Provisions, this document incorporates explanatory text to explore the policy reasons and justifications for the use of special measures in the courtroom.

The Model Provisions and Explanatory Text serve as a useful and reader-friendly resource for strengthening laws and facilitating access to justice in SGBV prosecutions.

To view link

2021
``Addressing Image-Based Abuse`` Part 2

23 September 2021

This webinar recording is brought to you by the Pacific Islands Law Officers’ Network(PILON) Cybercrime and Sexual and Gender Based Violence Working Groups.

Ms Dana Esperanza, Assistant Director, Attorney General’s Department, Australia, chaired the webinar.

  • Rosalie O’Neale, Australia Office of the eSafety Commissioner
  • Superintendent Kalisi Tohifolau, Tonga Police
  • Fiona Clearly, Principal at the Luke Cunningham Clere, New Zealand

To view recording of this webinar please click here

2021
``Addressing Image-Based Abuse`` Part 1

26 August 2021

This webinar recording is brought to you by the Pacific Islands Law Officers’ Network(PILON) Cybercrime and Sexual and Gender Based Violence Working Groups jointly delivered the first of two part webinar.

Moderator by Mr James Lutui, Director of Public Prosecutions, Kingdome of Tonga. Presenters for the webinar included;

  • Karen Bentley, CEO, WESNET
  • Stephanie Dunn, Legal Officer, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre

To view recording of this webinar please click here

2020
PILON Week Webinar – The effects of COVID-19 on sexual and gender based violence in the Pacific

13 November 2020, 2pm – 3pm Samoa Time (WST)

The Pacific Islands Law Officers Network (PILON) hosted a webinar on the impacts of the pandemic on Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Pacific. This event was delivered in partnership with the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Centre, the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre and the PNG Family Sexual Violence Action Committee.

Recording of this webinar can be found here.

2019
Draft - Model Provisions for Vulnerable Witnesses for amending Evidence or Criminal Procedures Acts to incorporate special measures for vulnerable witnesses to SGBV offences

In 2019 the SGBV Working Group released model provisions for countries to consider including in Evidence Acts, or Criminal Procedure Codes, to ensure that special measures can be accessed by vulnerable witnesses when appearing in Court.

The provisions also proposed that jurisdictions consider overturning some gender-biased evidence requirements contained in common law. The SGBV Working Group began working on explanatory material for these draft model provisions.

General Principles for obtaining the best evidence in SGBV matters

The General Principles are intended to support prosecutors, police, court staff and other service providers, with things to consider when a vulnerable witness, such a child or survivor of sexual assault, is attending court.

Download (PDF, 3.0 MB)

Workshop: Quality Evidence without Re-Victimisation: Promoting Special Measures for Vulnerable SGBV Complainants

25-27 March 2019, Apia, Samoa

Download workshop agenda (PDF, 743.7 KB)

2015
Victim Impact Statement Template

This is a template Victim Impact Statement to assist countries with recording and submitting victim impact statements to Court in SGBV (and other criminal) matters.

Download (DOCX, 27.1 KB)

Monitoring and Evaluating SGBV Legislation, Monitoring and Evaluating – Victim Impact Statements

These templates have been created to assist countries with monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of three specific aspects of SGBV legislation – protection/police safety orders, prosecutions and victim impact statements. The report provides guidance on how to use the templates and links to additional resources to assist with monitoring and evaluation.

Download PDF for printing (PDF, 1.6 MB) Invalid download ID.

SGBV - Best Practices Research

This report contains an overview of best practices for establishing mechanisms and processes with justice systems to provide access to justice for women and girls.

Download (PDF, 786.8 KB)

Further Learning Resources

For further resources and useful tips in relation to SGBV, please visit the Digital Library.

Photos

2024

2022-2023

2019